The United Nations of Pittsburgh

Expressions of timeless human values, representing the diverse heritages of the peoples who built Pittsburgh. The Nationality Rooms at The University of Pittsburgh

One thing I longed for raising three children in a traditional home in the valley of Point Breeze was one of Pittsburgh’s magnificent views. One of the many benefits of loft living is the view the Cathedral of Learning from our roof patio. It is also a handy point of reference when driving to and from the South Side.

This Sunday, The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning will host its annual free Holiday Open House from 12-4. Each room celebrates a special day in that culture’s year. Besides the traditional Christmas from Christian countries, there is Hanukkah in the Israel heritage room, Kwanzaa in the African room and Chinese New Year in the Chinese room.

The first Pitt Chancellor came up with the idea for the rooms and solicited different ethnic groups when the building was only a concept. The first 19 rooms were built between 1938 and 1956 with the remaining opened after 1965. Before a room can be built, members of the local community must raise funds to complete the decorating work and also commit to raising funds for future Pitt students school to study in the sponsoring country.

Tomorrow is an opportunity to see the newest additions, the Turkish Room based upon the vestibule of a Turkish house and the medieval-styled Swiss Nationality Room.

If you are unable to go on Sunday, the nationality rooms will remain decorated through Jan 18 except on Dec 24-26 and Jan 1 with paid tours of $4/adult and $2/child.

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